History of Golf in Scotland
Many consider golf (or gowf as it was originally spelled in Scotland) the most significant of all Scottish inventions (though some would argue for single malt whiskey!).
Many golfers travel to Scotland specifically to take a Scottish golf tour and relive the history of golf in Scotland, while playing such world-famous golf links as the inestimable St. Andrews and enjoying all the beauty of Scotland's hills and glens.
Amazingly, golf was being played in Scotland as early at the 14th century, and possibly even earlier. Both the French and the Dutch have tried to lay claim to its invention with their ball and stick games -- unfortunately their sports didn't include the one most necessary ingredient to a game of golf: the hole. Driving a tiny ball through innumerable obstacles to eventally drop it into a tiny hole is a uniquely Scots invention.
Originating on the east coast of Scotland, golf quickly became the Scots' national pastime and passion, bound forever to Scotland's history and people. Both King James II and King James III banned the game in the 1400s as it was taking too much time away from archery practice. King James IV tried to ban golf also, but was instead converted to the game, and Scottish monarchs were avid players ever after -- even Mary Queen of Scots was a golfer during her brief reign.
By the beginning of the 17th century, golf had spread throughout all of Scotland and was enjoyed by not only the nobility but the common folk as well. During this same century, the game was properly organized with accepted rules for all players. In 1744, the Gentlemen Golfers of Leith, later renamed the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, was instituted. The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews was begun in 1754.
Golf exploded on the international scene in the late 1800s following the invention of the gutta percha ball. Golf is now played and enjoyed around the world -- no business trip or vacation is complete without a visit to a nearby course.
Following are some books about the history of golf in Scotland, as well as guides to the famous golf courses, and tips for planning a golf trip to Scotland.
Golf in Scotland: A Travel-Planning Guide with Profiles of 68 Great Courses
By Allan McAllister Ferguson
Must have resource for planning your golf trip to Scotland.
St Andrews: The Home of Golf
By Henry Lord and Oliver Gregory, photographs by Kevin Murray
Beautiful photographs and text about the world's most wonderful golf course - St. Andrews. Perfect golf gift.
Blasted Heaths and Blessed Greens : A Golfer's Pilgrimage to the Courses of Scotland
Every golfer alive knows that he or she has two ancestral homes: one's own, and Scotland. For the tourist or the dreamer, there can be no better guide than James W. Finegan.
Golf Map of Scotland
Excellent golf map and road map, includes contact info for the golf courses.